It's been a logical question for quite some time now: Is Deckers Outdoors' (Nasdaq: DECK) UGG brand soon to be left on the wayside, like many passing fads -- and more importantly, when? It hasn't happened yet, judging by Deckers' fourth-quarter results -- however, some people have a serious case of cold feet today.

Deckers' fourth-quarter net income increased 189% to $35.4 million, or $2.72 per share, but bear in mind that last year, Deckers reported a $15.3 million impairment loss which dragged down its quarterly earnings. Fourth-quarter revenue increased 56% to $194.2 million.

The UGG brand of clunky sheepskin boots and other footwear is still incredibly important to Deckers. During the quarter, UGG's sales increased 61.8% to $177.7 million; Teva sales rose only 6.8%. Last but not least, Deckers' eco-friendly Simple brand showed impressive growth -- a 76.2% increase. But it's hard to get excited about such a tiny part of the business; Simple's sales added up to just $2.6 million.

However, in the Deckers conference call, management pointed out that Simple is in interesting and exciting distribution channels like Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI), Urban Outfitters (Nasdaq: URBN), Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN), and Zappos.com. Personally, I find that exciting for the long term as an ancillary brand for the company, but there's still a lot that remains to be seen.

Deckers gave some lackluster guidance, which seems to have helped drive shareholders to shun the shoe stock. Deckers said it will generate earnings of about $0.75 per share in the first quarter, while analysts expect $0.92 per share.

I can't blame anybody for cold feet. Deckers has been on an incredible upward trajectory for quite some time. (Its stock is up 72% over the last year.) And like fellow footwear venture Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX), there is major risk that the UGG brand will lose its crazed momentum. It's been pretty obvious that footwear fashions can be fickle, with many footwear companies struggling (although I recently decided I like Skechers (NYSE: SKX)).

Deckers is trading at 24 times 2008 earnings, but it only expects 20% earnings growth this year (with decreasing gross margin). That sounds somewhat overvalued, and even given the argument that this might be "conservative" guidance, the question remains as to whether Deckers' recently heady growth is sustainable. Personally, I'd rather see cheaper shares before slipping on some Deckers.

  • Last week's Stock of the Week was another footwear company, Skechers. (Be on the lookout for this week's Stock of the Week later today).
  • In July, one Fool opined on ugly Deckers, pretty UGGs.
  • Last March, long-time Fool David Meier agonized over his Deckers decision.

Alyce Lomax owns shares of Whole Foods Market and Urban Outfitters. Whole Foods Market is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.